The Association Between Psychopathic Personality Traits and Criminal Justice Outcomes: Results From a Nationally Representative Sample of Males and Females

Kevin M. Beaver, Brian B. Boutwell, J. C. Barnes, Michael G. Vaughn, Matt DeLisi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)


There has been a great deal of research revealing that psychopathy is related to criminal involvement and other measures of antisocial behavior. However, the generalizability of these findings is limited because of some potential problems with measurement and because of the overreliance on forensic samples and the relative lack of psychopathy measures in national samples. The current study addresses these gaps in the existing psychopathy literature by examining the association between a Five-Factor Model–based measure of psychopathic personality traits and criminal justice outcomes in a nationally representative sample of males and females. Analysis of data drawn from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) revealed that psychopathic personality traits predicted the probability of being arrested, of being incarcerated, and of being sentenced to probation for both males and females. Additional analyses revealed that the psychopathic personality traits scale was also associated with a self-reported delinquency scale. We concluded by discussing the importance of the concept of psychopathy and psychopathic personality traits to criminological theory and research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)708-730
Number of pages23
JournalCrime and Delinquency
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jan 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

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